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  • Writer's pictureAisha Playton


Updated: 5 days ago

African Trademark Cheatsheet

African continent highlighting the location of Nigeria

Nigerian Trademark Stats

Madrid Protocol member: No, Nigeria is not a member state of the Madrid Protocol.

Paris Convention signatory: Yes, Nigeria is a signatory to the Paris Convention.

ARIPO member: No, Nigeria is not a signatory state to the ARIPO system.

OAPI member: No, Nigeria is not a signatory state to the OAPI system.

Renewal term: The standard period for renewal of South African trademark rights is 14 years.

Non-use period: The non-use period for inactive trademark usage is five consecutive years in Nigeria.

Opposition period: The opposition period for trademark applications in Nigeria is two months.

First-to-file jurisdiction: Yes, Nigeria is a first to file jurisdiction.

Priority claim: No, an applicant may not claim priority trademark filing rights in Nigeria.

Application-to-Registration term: It takes approximately 12-18 months in order to successfully register your Nigerian trademark rights.

Power of Attorney: Signed power of attorney is required in order for an agent to apply to register Nigerian trademark rights on your behalf.

Nigeria is a bustling hub of commerce, innovation and culture on the continent. Widely considered one of the fastest-growing markets in the developing world, Nigeria has naturally become a prime intellectual property filing hotspot. Trademark law in Nigeria is largely governed by the Trademarks Act, the Trademarks Regulation and the Business Facilitations Act. Nigerian trademark searches, filings and registrations are all processed manually at the National Trademark Registry offices in Abuja. Much like in other jurisdictions, Nigeria allows for trademark applications to be filed by Nigerian individuals or organisations, including companies or solo entrepreneurs. Any foreign persons or organisations would require a local agent to represent them throughout the process. Nigeria recognises the registration of many forms of trademark such as traditional word and device marks, colour marks, three-dimensional marks, packaging, certification marks, defensive and series marks to name a few.

The trademark filing process in Nigeria is relatively similar to the South African process outlined last week. To start, an official trademark application will be completed and submitted to the National Registry for review along with the requisite official fees. Once the application has successfully reached the National Registry, an acknowledgement form will be generated and sent to the applicant as proof of successful filing in the jurisdiction. Once the Registry has acknowledged receipt of the application, the mark will undergo a formal trademark examination. During this examination, the integrity and distinctiveness of the mark will be vetted to ensure that the mark is both legal and not confusingly similar to any marks previously registered in the Nice classes concerned. If deemed acceptable, a formal acceptance form is issued.

Following official acceptance, the mark will proceed to the advertisement, where the mark will be published in the National Trademarks Journal for two months. During this period of advertisement, all concerned parties may officially approach the Registry to lodge objections to the registration of the mark should they believe they hold grounds to do so. Assuming no objections are filed or if they are resolved, the mark proceeds to registration. Upon registration, applicants receive an official certificate, typically issued 12-18 months after filing, providing legal proof of their Nigerian intellectual property rights. Registration grants seven years of protection from the filing date, with the option for renewal every 14 years.

Next, let's address the process of assigning and transferring trademarks in Nigeria. This procedure is regulated by the Trademarks Act and administered by the Registry of Trademarks, Patents, and Designs. To transfer ownership of a Nigerian trademark, applicants must provide the following to the National Registry: an application for registration of the assignment, which may be jointly submitted by the current owner and the assignee; a Power of Attorney authorising the agent or firm to act on behalf of the applicant; a Deed of Assignment detailing the transfer (this document must be stamped by the Federal Inland Revenue Service); a statement outlining the assignee's basis for ownership and demonstrating the assignment; and payment of the required official fees. If the Registrar of the National Registry approves the assignment application, it will be recorded in the National Trademarks Journal. Nigeria permits the assignment of registered trademarks provided they are; used in the same business, assigned simultaneously to the same individual, and cover all relevant goods associated with the trademarks.

That wraps up the second edition of our African Trademark Cheatsheet series! In our next edition, we'll be heading to the tropics to continue our exploration into the TM landscape in yet another prominent African market.

PS: Did you miss our first edition discussing South African trademark prosecution? No problem! Simply click the link below to access:

If you have any questions regarding trademark prosecution in South Africa and other African nations, please feel free to pop our IP Prosecutions team an email at and we will be in contact with you as soon as we can.

Chat soon!

This information was last updated on 11 April 2024. This information is for general educational and entertainment purposes and is subject to change at any time.


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